Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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October 4, 2013

Recreating a vision

(Continued)

LOCKPORT —

According to project field manager John Bordner, Hohl will produce four copies of an existing original light fixture at the locks, install one on a footbridge and turn over the rest to the Canal Corporation for future use.

The company also will produce a removable steel weir, or dam, to use in the two-locks project, then turn that over to the state for future use as well, Edmister said.

Hohl’s fabrication division has the challenge, and the fun, of producing elements of the locking system to match the damaged or lost originals as closely as possible: not just gates, footbridges and weirs but their antiquated fasteners, square-head bolts and 50-penny (5.5 inch-long) nails, as well.

"Those are the little things, but they’ll make the difference in terms of authenticity” of the restored locks, Edmister said.

Edmister, who wrote Hohl’s bid for the fabrication work, said he felt “like a kid in a candy store” as he researched and priced out the jobs. He’s awed by the thought of what men were able to achieve back in the day, without modern machinery — and glad to be working in 2013, when his job is to copy the product, not the process.

"What probably took hundreds of hours then takes tens of hours now. If I had to build those doors (lock gates) the way they did, we couldn’t afford it, that’s for sure,” Edmister said. “It’s crazy to think that they did this with such rudimentary tools; it’s boggling.”

Hohl Industrial Services has undertaken plenty of public asset restoration work during Edmister’s seven-year tenure there. The company currently has the job of updating the mammoth St. Lawrence Seaway locks near Massena. Past projects include restoration of the Delaware stone bridge at state routes 198 and 33 in Buffalo.

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